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Everything You Need to Know About Caring for an Indoor Orange Tree

Caring for an Indoor Orange Tree

Searching for tips on how to care for your indoor orange tree? Continue reading below to get all of the facts you need to help your orange tree thrive!

Fun fact: Oranges don't grow in the wild. They've been around for literal ages. But they're a domesticated hybrid between the pomelo and mandarin.

So when you think about it, growing an indoor orange tree is your duty to humanity. 

Of course, now you're probably asking yourself, "But how on earth do I even grow an orange tree indoors? There's not enough light for a citrus tree indoors! Isn't that why they're grown in Florida and South Texas?"

We hear you. But not only is growing oranges indoors possible, but your tree can also thrive — you just need to know a few tips about how to grow an orange tree indoors.

Keep the Temperature in Check

As a rule of thumb, your indoor citrus tree will die if the temperature gets below 10 degrees F for 10 hours or 20 degrees F for 20 hours. It's OK to place your tree outside for some light, but when the winter weather starts getting rough, it's time to pull it in. 

Just note the exact temperature citrus houseplants thrive in might vary from variety to variety. So check with your citrus seller. 

Let There Be Light

The light for a citrus tree is very important. Your indoor orange tree needs at least five or six hours of direct sunlight a day. A south-facing window is a sweet spot when growing citrus indoors. 

But note that your window has to be physically hot to the touch to provide enough light. For times when it's not, you can buy a special grow light for citrus trees. 

It's Not a Dry Heat

Orange trees also like humidity. It keeps them cool and encourages orange blossom growth.

Naturally humid rooms like the kitchen or bathroom are great places if you can swing it. If not, put your indoor orange tree on a pebble tray and mist the leaves with cool water to raise the humidity. 

Speaking of Water

Believe it or not, indoor orange trees' water needs aren't too different from another more boring houseplant. 

In the summer, they'll need regular watering. Once or twice a week should do. During the winter, however, do make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings.

Overwatering is no better than under-watering

Pro tip: Put a bucket outside to catch rainwater. That's their favorite treat. 

Feed Me, Seymour

Citrus trees are hungry little buggers. Feed them regularly — every second watering should do — with a high-potassium feed during spring and summer. If you take care of them, they'll return the favor with better fruit.

We recommend Nelson Plant Food

Don't Forget to Prune

Indoor orange trees do need a lot of pruning. You don't want the branches to get overcrowded. If they do, make sure you get them pruned by February. And it may seem counterintuitive, but cutting back the tallest branches actually encourages better growth. 

Buying an Indoor Orange Tree

From Valencia to blood orange, mandarin and more, there is a wide variety of indoor orange trees to choose from. They all have different uses. So think of how you'll likely eat them when making your decision.

Or get more than one! It's OK to be greedy. Now, let's go pick out your indoor orange tree!

Bloody Brilliant: The Top Benefits of Blood Oranges

The Top Benefits of Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are extremely good for your health. How so? Read on to learn about the incredible unique benefits that blood oranges provide for your health!

Would you eat fruit with blood in the name? If not, you will miss out.

Though blood oranges have a mildly gruesome name, the fruit is anything but. If you've never tried one, try imagining what an orange crossed with a raspberry would taste like. 

Does that pique your interest?

It should...because this is a bloody brilliant fruit. Let's take a look at the health benefits of eating blood oranges.

Vitamin C

As a citrus fruit, you can expect that blood oranges have a healthy dose of vitamin C. Just 100 grams of the fruit (less than a typical sized blood orange) provides nearly 90% of the recommended daily intake.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is crucial for good health. The body can't manufacture it on its own, therefore you must get it from the food you eat. It's important for maintaining good gums, teeth, cartilage, and skin.

Vitamin C helps clear free radical damage from the body and reduces inflammation. The antioxidant is linked to a lower risk of several types of cancer. Additionally, it helps facilitate wound healing and much more. 

Anthocyanins

It's not likely that you woke up this morning and thought "I'd better start getting some more anthocyanins in my diet!" Regardless, this antioxidant that you probably know nothing about can do a lot for you.

Anthocyanins show up in various foods and are responsible for their color. They are what make blueberries that dark, luscious purple and give black plums their hue. They also give blood oranges that rich red color that makes them so bloody brilliant.

As an antioxidant, it packs a lot of health benefits for you. Anthocyanins have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. They also lower cholesterol and help reduce oxidative damage in the blood vessels.

Folic Acid

Here's some more cancer-fighting power for you. Folic acid can help reduce the risk of some types of cancer as well as heart disease.

The body uses this vitamin to build new blood cells (that's apt!). Therefore many doctors recommend a higher dose for pregnant women as this can help prevent birth defects.

Calcium 

Calcium is extremely important for strong bones and teeth. If you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis as you age, start looking for more calcium as soon as possible. This will help prevent your bones from becoming brittle.

Blood oranges have far less calcium per fruit than they do Vitamin C. So don't count on them as your primary source of calcium. You'd have to eat quite a few per day to reach the recommended daily intake.

Benefits of Blood Oranges

In this article, we've outlined the basic health benefits of eating blood oranges. If you've never tried one, now is the time. Here are some delicious blood orange recipes to get you started!

Interested in growing your own tasty blood oranges? Check out our popular blood orange trees for sale right here at US Citrus!

Be sure to check out our citrus tree store for more exotic varieties. Receive fast-growing citrus trees delivered straight to your doorstep!

Tangerines vs Mandarins vs Clementines: What's the Difference?

Tangerines vs Mandarins vs Clementines: What's the Difference?

Tangerines, mandarins, and clementines - they're all oranges, but what's the difference? Read on to learn about tangerines vs mandarins vs clementines.

What is orange, round, and tastes deliciously sweet? The answer could be tangerines vs mandarins vs clementines.

Oranges are one of America's favorite fruits. Over 60 percent of Americans regularly buy oranges. 

And yet, despite the popularity of the orange, many people get confused by the different types of oranges

In this article, we'll reveal the differences. Let's get started!

Let's Start with the Mandarin Orange 

The mandarin orange is the ancestor of every other type of orange. It's the original orange, so to speak.

You can spot a mandarin orange by the flat ends. Even though other types of oranges may roll off a surface, the mandarin orange sits still.

It, therefore, resembles the shape of a pumpkin. This makes it the perfect replacement for your Halloween decorations. 

Mandarin oranges also marketed as "easy peel." That's for good reason. You can peel a mandarin in just a few moments. 

Tangerines vs Mandarins

Before the internet, arguments about the difference between tangerines vs mandarins would last forever.

But now it can be revealed that the difference is not much really. In fact, the words mandarins and tangerines are largely used interchangeably.

The reason is that tangerines are actually a type of mandarin. So, how do you know whether you're eating a tangerine or just another regular mandarin?

Well, you can identify a tangerine by the thinner-skin around the juicy bits inside. It's also a slighter brighter orange and a little larger as well. 

What About Clementine Oranges?

Now, this is where it really gets confusing. Clementines are also a type of mandarin orange. You can spot the difference because they're much smaller than the tangerines. 

Clementine oranges are especially suitable for children since they don't contain any pesky seeds. The sweetness can be enjoyed without the hassle.

You may encounter clementine oranges sold as "sweeties."

How About Satsumas?

Yes, you guessed it. Satsumas are yet another type of mandarin orange. Satsumas started in Japan, but have since expanded across the world.

The satsuma is even smaller than the clementine orange. It's actually the smallest of the mandarin orange family.

Have you got a sweet tooth? Satsumas are sweeter and more tender than other types of mandarin.

If you buy a bag of satsumas, be careful not to damage them. The tenderness makes them especially fragile and vulnerable to bruising.

As a result, satsuma mandarins are on average harder to find in supermarkets in the United States. But, the good news is that you can plant your own satsuma mandarin tree

Learn More About Citrus Fruits

It can be quite confusing distinguishing between all the different kinds of oranges. But, it's important you know what you're eating before you bite into the sweet and nutritious goodness.

Now you know the answer to the debate about the differences between tangerines vs mandarins. There isn't a difference!

Do you want to learn more about the health benefits of eating mandarin oranges and other citrus fruits? Check out our citrus blog here

Eight Steps to Growing Navel Oranges in Containers

How to Grow Navel Oranges in 8 Steps

Love oranges, but unable to grow them outside in your area? Or do you prefer to grow an orange tree indoors rather than in an outdoor grove? Read on to find out how you can grow your own fresh and flavorful Navel oranges in a container or pot in just 8 steps.

About Navel Oranges

Navel oranges are the absolute finest oranges to eat. They're fresh, incredibly flavorful, and can be grown in containers with ease. Here are some more details about Navel orange fruit and trees:

Navel Orange Fruit: 

  • Classic Navel oranges are unmatched in rich flavor, with fine, juicy, sweet flesh, easy-to-peel and seedless
  • Develops a bright rind color
  • The most distinctive feature of navel oranges is the presence of a navel—a small and rudimentary secondary fruit embedded in the apex of the primary fruit
  • The juice can be enjoyed if consumed immediately, but unlike Valencia, the juice can turn bitter quickly
  • The fruit can be sensitive to weather changes, and blossoms can drop

Navel Orange Trees:

  • Medium to large trees
  • A rounded tree with deep green foliage
  • Umbrella-like foliage
  • Crops mature November to February

Where Do Oranges and Citrus Grow? 

With proper citrus care, having a citrus tree such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, navel orange or orange tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where oranges and other citrus fruit can be planted into the ground are limited to regions in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting citrus in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

Growing Navel Oranges Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow Navel oranges outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your orange tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

Another option, which we enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Navel Orange Trees in Pots

The actual planting process of Navel orange trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Navel orange is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

Here are 8 steps for growing navel orange trees in containers:

Step 1: Container for Navel Orange Trees

The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move with only one person. so we recommend 15 gallons as the sweet spot.

Step 2: Soil for Navel Orange Trees

Choosing soil for your Navel orange trees is simple. All you need is any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for orange tree container gardening. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

Step 3: Watering for Navel Orange Trees

Watering is crucial, typically when Navel orange trees are planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Navel orange trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

Overwatering Your Potted Navel Citrus Tree

Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will not improve the condition of the tree obviously, and you will likely notice that the soil is waterlogged at this point.

Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

Step 4: Fertilizer for Navel Orange Trees

Your Navel orange tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

These machinations are very important for the development of the root system, the color of the leaves, appropriate photosynthesis, the growth of the trunk of the tree, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

Fertilizer Schedule

Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3+

 

 

 

Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

5

7

9

 Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

10

14

18

Step 5: Sunlight for Navel Orange Trees 

Sunlight is crucial to Navel orange trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

A Navel orange tree does best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

Step 6: Winter Protection for Navel Orange Trees

We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your citrus tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. This point you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Navel Orange Tree?

First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your citrus tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

Otherwise, order your very own micro-budded navel orange tree for sale online right here at US Citrus! It's a fast-growing citrus tree that uses our patented micro-budding technology to bear fresh and juicy citrus fruit within the first 1-2 years.

Step 8: Harvesting Your Navel Oranges

This harvest season is winter to late spring.